106 Green is proud to present:
A Room of Her Own, a solo exhibition of photographs by Sophia Chai.
There will be an opening reception on Saturday, April 30 from 6-8pm.
The exhibition will run through May 29.
Gallery hours are from noon to 5pm, Sundays.
During my second year of graduate school, back in 2002, out of sheer curiosity to see what goes on inside the camera, I turned my studio space into a camera obscura. I blocked out the three large windows facing the Chicago skyline, except for a 3-inch circle of an opening. Through this opening, light came in and illuminated the room dimly. And as the eyes became adjusted to the darkened room, what surrounded the viewer was an inverted projection of the Chicago skyline. The clouds moved across the floor and the cars and people on the streets were projected onto the ceiling. The Sears tower (renamed the Willis tower in 2009) stood upside down, now bent where the wall met the floor with its antenna protruding onto the floor. What unfolded inside the camera obscura was full of movement and discordant projections. Yet, it was all perfectly coherent with the physical properties of light: how it moves, reflects, and illuminates. The sense of wonder I felt in that space is still palpable. And this experience has provided me with the inspiration I needed in pursuing my photography.
This solo exhibition at 106 Green will be comprised of 11 photographic works spanning from 2009 to 2016. In addition, I will paint a section of the floor in white, starting from the entrance point of the hallway and ending at the left corner of the white rectangle of the fridge, as an invitation for the viewer to key into the process with which I make my photographs.
A camera is essentially a room with a tiny hole. Light enters through the hole, travels in a straight line, and as it reaches the interior surfaces inside the camera, it makes a projection of the things that the light had just hit upon right before entering the camera.
In making my photographs, I am thinking mostly about how a picture is projected inside the camera. This approach has given me the freedom to manipulate the space in front of the camera. Rectangles and straight lines that appear flat in the photographs are, in fact, vertical lines painted on the wall and continuing onto the floor at a skewed angle. The illusion of the space appearing flat may be what the viewer sees first in the photographs. With a closer look, however, the minute details and the textures of the walls and the floor become properly visible and the actual dimensionality of the space becomes more apparent.
The photographs in this exhibition are documents of my exploration where play and discovery were at the core of the studio practice. I am looking closely at the way we perceive: how we see, how we know, and how we can come to believe. And with my photographs I hope to open up a space where we can watch ourselves seeing. A room of one’s own.
Sophia Chai received her MFA in photography from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has shown her work at galleryELL, Trestle Projects, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, The Knockdown Center, A.I.R. gallery, and TSA Gallery amongst others. This is Chai’s first solo show in New York.